Long Talkers: they’re the worst.
Oh sure, they mean well, and it’s true that they only want someone to talk to, but who has the time to waste on hours of boring chit-chat?
As Fate would have it, yours truly was “blessed” with a next door neighbor who fits the bill. Over the last three years, I’ve become somewhat of a maestro at avoiding him, but it hasn’t always been easy.
Here’s what I’ve picked up along the way:
The Phone Conversation
After about six months of playing nice (and losing an hour and a half of my workday twice a week), I finally resorted to holding the smartphone to my ear whenever I would check the mail or head out to my car to drive to my favorite coffee shop. A few times, faking a conversation became necessary as I passed by him and felt his eyes on me.
The Invisible Man
If you’re a pretty decent actor and can feign the look of determination, then you may be able to get by with pretending they’re not there. As one George Louis Costanza said in “The Hot Tub,” act annoyed.
Of course, it helps if you really are sick, but this one is entirely fake-able. Rub your eyes, look like you’re having trouble keeping your them open, put on the 1,000-yard stare, and hope for the best. In my case, the neighbor is retired and elderly, so he’s terrified of anything that remotely resembles sickness. If he sees me coming in such a state, he usually turns the other way. Still, it requires a little more prep than I would like, but it’s effective and can be a godsend if you don’t have your cellphone on you.
If I think the neighbor is waiting at the door for me to walk in. I usually try to speed up my walk and look rushed. This is a pretty cool tactic because you can hit the long talker with a drive-by, “Hey, how’s it going” as you advance past them. They assume you’ve forgotten something important, and if they don’t, you can always just lie and tag that on to the end of your greeting. Coupled with the act of charging forward, he’ll buy it.
This one requires a cellphone and a friend (or in my case, wife). Tell your buddy or partner ahead of time that you’re going to be home or they’re going to hear from you by a certain time. “If you don’t, it means my neighbor caught me, so if you don’t mind, give me a call at X:30.” Leave your ringer on, and when your phone starts ringing while he’s in the middle of telling you about his five children you’ve never met, he won’t suspect you’re eluding him.
If you don’t want to put friends and family through that mess, just get an app on your phone like Fake Me A Call and do it yourself.
What have been some of your favorite methods for avoiding long talkers?
[Image via MyCompleteLackOfBoundaries]